The State Forest Department will be recruiting nearly 700 frontline staff in the coming months to bolster its conservation efforts, according to Debendranath Sarangi, Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests.

“The process of estimating the vacancies is almost over. The identification of vacancies through direct recruitment and promotions for the post of Foresters and Forest Guards are being finalised,” he said. As the estimation is expected to be complete within this week, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the Head of Forest Force will be ready to start the recruitment.

The frontline staff comprise Watchers, Forest Guards, Foresters and Rangers below the rank of Assistant Conservator of Forests. The posts of Foresters and Guards will be through direct recruitment as well as through promotion. While direct recruitment will be through the employment exchange subject to seniority, the promotions would be based on years of service and service records, he said.

Recently, the Union Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had written to Chief Ministers, urging their intervention to ensure that the vacant posts of frontline staff are filled up immediately.

According to officials, the Forest Department plans to recruit nearly 700 Forest Guards and Foresters under the first phase. As a good number of Rangers are retiring in the coming years, Rangers were also being recruited.